Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wow, is that new shading on your tat? Oh no, it's just cigarette ash...

When I step into a piercing and/or tattoo shop, I expect it to be BEYOND clean. That includes use of all the usual sterilization equipment, single-use needles, and protective gloves. But what if you found yourself in a tattoo shop filled with over 4,000 types of toxins in the air? Would you still want to have an open wound created in this environment, or would you opt for a cleaner establishment? Although safety and health are sometimes disregarded by extreme modifiers, those on the search for a simple lip piercing or a tattoo should be wary of a shop that subjects them to easily-avoidable health risks. One of these risks is cigarette smoke, which does indeed contain over 4,000 toxins.

The reason for my interest in the subject of cigarette smoking in tattoo and piercing shops is a place in Tel Aviv, Israel called Kipod. Kipod (which is Hebrew for "porcupine" - cute, no?) is a joint coffee shop and tattoo/piercing parlor. Sounds like a great hangout for someone like myself, who loves both coffee and body modification. But when I researched Kipod a bit on the Internet, I found some slightly disturbing photos from its grand opening party.

Maybe it’s because I’m a smoker myself, and not used to smoking indoors, but the sight of people smoking cigarettes in a tattoo shop bothered me quite a bit. Although smoking inside is quite the pleasure for most smokers, I understand that some people just hate the lingering smell and the health risks so it isn’t polite to smoke in public places. I also realize that cigarettes are a part of the culture in many countries, and that smoking indoors is considered completely normal, but a tattoo shop isn’t just any normal establishment. I can’t help but feel that smoking in what’s supposed to be a sterile environment is never appropriate, however pleasurable it might be. Would you trust a doctor who allowed smoking in his office?

1 comment:

Derek said...

During the years I've been a piercer, I've worked in a variety of "styles" of piercing/tattoo shops. Some have allowed smoking in the majority of the shop. Some have allowed smoking in the waiting area, which was distinctly separated from the main area of the shop. Most, for obvious reasons, have not allowed smoking at all. The latter is certainly the safest and most appropriate option, and at this point I would never consider working in a shop that allowed smoking anywhere in the studio.

I've also attended a number of "opening parties" for piercing/tattoo shops as well as other businesses (hair salons, specialty toy stores, coffes shops) and it seems that allowing smoking at these parties is pretty common. These types of parties have always taken place outside normal business hours and none of the standard services of the business have been offered during the party. While smoking has been allowed during the parties, none of these businesses have allowed smoking during normal business operations.

So, it's quite possible that the smoking at this party was a "one time" thing. I guess my point (yes, there's one here somewhere) is that smoking at this event may not be an accurate reflection of what goes on during a typical day at this shop.

Even though I'm a smoker, and definitely enjoy having the option of smoking indoors, if it were up to me, I'd still have people smoke outside at such an event.